Things You Need to Know Before Traveling to Costa Rica

Traveling to Costa RicaTraveling to Costa Rica

If this is your first time traveling to Costa Rica, I’m sure you have heard or read many confusing items to be cautious of. We want to emphasize that traveling to Costa Rica is sure to create a memorable stay, however, it should be noted there are many misconceptions and myths being relayed by travel agents, and websites. Below, we have compiled a list of what to expect and what to avoid.

List of Things to Expect When Traveling to Costa Rica

  • Due to the close proximity to the equator, the UV factor is incredibly high. Use sunscreen.
  • Typhoid, malaria or other shots aren’t required.
  • The water is safe excluding some remote areas.
  •  If you rent a car, remember there are few street signs or no street addresses. Only the larger highways are marked.
  • If you have an accident, you must remain at the site without moving the vehicles until both the police and the insurance agent show up.
  •  Do not shop at stores or restaurants that have no prices marked and/or the prices are in dollars.
  •  Use your credit card to get the correct exchange rate. Use your ATM card if you need cash in colones. Don’t do a cash advance due to high interest rates.  Inform your bank and CC companies. Many will block your credit cards, especially for cash withdrawals.
  •  Be careful of pickpockets, grab and run… etc. Don’t carry your passport. Have a copy made of your front (picture) page and the entry stamp. The police will accept that as a valid ID.
  •  You can eat the food. Some of the best spots are the little roadside restaurants and ‘sodas’.
  • If you visit the tropical areas, rainforests, beaches and the Central Valley, beware of. Dengue (mosquito) which comes in two varieties. The first causes flu-like symptoms and is not severe. The second one is extremely painful and needs treatment. It is avoidable by using bug repellent especially during the daytime hours.
  • A passport is required to enter Costa Rica. It also must not expire in less than six months. A driver’s license or birth certificate isn’t valid.
  • Hotels and nearly all restaurants take credit cards and many accept dollars. There are places where only the colon is accepted. Use ATM’s to get some colones at the proper exchange rate. Also, many places will not accept traveler’s checks.
  • When you leave, you need an exit visa available at the airports or the immigration buildings at the frontiers. They accept dollars, VISA (only) or colones.
  • When renting a car, large deposits get pre authorized on your credit card. If you do not have a large limit, you can find yourself unable to use your card.
  • If you rent a car, remember there are few street signs or no street addresses. Only the larger highways are marked. (Be sure to get a GPS when possible, they work great in the country)

Be Prepared When Traveling to Costa Rica

Hopefully, your fears will be alleviated and you can relax.  Overall, if you adhere to these helpful hints, your vacation will be one creating a lasting memory.

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